Wildfire in our forests: How Extension is taking action and so can you

Fire season is officially upon us here in Oregon. Even short periods without rain along with extreme fire weather (windy, high temperatures, low humidity) can open our environment up to dry conditions that support the spread of wildfires.   

OSU’s College of Forestry has launched a new fire program through Extension. We have hired a Fire Program Manager, Carrie Berger, and a State Fire Specialist, Daniel Leavell. In addition, we are in the interview process for six Regional Fire Specialists to be placed in communities throughout the state. 

The Fire Program will facilitate landscape-level, cross-boundary fire risk reduction/prevention, wildfire education, and wildfire and smoke preparedness efforts within our Oregon communities.

“Something I’d like our team to focus on is creating smoke-ready communities," said Berger. "I believe we should have fire-adapted AND smoke-ready communities.” The regional fire specialists will work to create partnerships for landscape efforts — or to assist those that are ongoing, conduct needs assessments, and provide education and outreach for communities in their local areas.  

Leavell, an associate professor, added that he and Berger are working with the Oregon Prescribed Fire Council to develop a Certified Burn Manager Program for Oregon and to address prescribed fire liability issues and break down barriers to increase the scope and scale of prescribed burning where appropriate. They have also been presenting at workshops, webinars and conferences including the Clackamas Tree School and Tree School Online. 

“And that’s just the first year," Berger said. "For me, I’m really excited to be part of the fire solution.”

Leavell agrees, “This is a wonderful opportunity — I’m honored to be a part of the Fire Program.”  

As part of our annual wildfire prevention and preparedness programming in Clackamas, Marion, and Hood River Counties, our office worked alongside other Extension Forestry and Natural Resources offices across Oregon to organize a short webinar series in May to promote Wildfire Awareness Month. Visit the websites provided below to watch the series. We have also provided a list of local, state and national resources to assist you in beginning (or continuing) your wildfire preparedness journey. And of course, your local Forestry Extension agent is always available to support you and connect you with resources.   

After the Fire Webinar Series, 2020

The Fire Program along with its partners are hosting a series of post-fire webinars related to natural resources topics. Visit the Fire Program Class Guide at beav.es/fireclassguide for information on upcoming classes and to view past webinars.  

Every Thursday through November 12 from 3:00 - 5:00 PM 

Wildfire Preparedness Webinar Series, 2020  

Links to Resources 

Local

Wildfire preparedness is a team effort. Along with your local Extension Forester, local Oregon Department of Forestry office, and local fire departments, your county Natural Resource Conservation Service office, and your county Soil and Water Conservation District office may have financial or technical resources available as well. Use the links below to visit their websites and find your local office.  

State 

National: 

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